Monday, August 25, 2008


I don't know why, but sometimes certain things really inspire me.  Like this insanely expensive set of twig crayons I saw in Chasing Fireflies, a children's catalog that recently showed up at our doorstep.  For some reason my inner child is dying to draw with them!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Tea with R

I had a little visitor yesterday and while I was cooking lunch, she played quietly in another part of the house.
Imagine my delight and surprise last night after she had left, when I went into the room she had played in.

A perfectly set tea table, complete with napkins and everyone on their best behavior - even the baby in the highchair.

This is tangible proof that children mimic the behavior they see and it is humbling to me to realize how much influence we as adults have. Think about that the next time your child exhibits less than stellar behavior - how much of it is mimicing the adult and what skills have you taught, by your actions, on how to handle a situation .

A humbling thought ....

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Garden Olympics, cont'd.

We've just concluded the popular All Varieties Tomato Event here at the farm

After the judges deducted 1/10th of a point for excessive shouldering and another major 3/10 of a point for a small bruise at the top of a very popular contender, the verdict is unanimous.

The Gold medal goes to the small Suncherry ( seen here second from the left ) for sweetness, early ripening, amazing tomato taste and just all-around cuteness. Congratulations, little guy !
Next up : Tomato juice - a team event. Stay tuned for results.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Watery World

After consulting the tide tables, Mr. RFD and I loaded up the canoe this Sunday morning and headed for a shallow bay which is part of the great Chesapeake Bay. There would be 3 feet of water at high tide, deep enough for us to explore the bay and some of its tributary creeks.

The canoe is a very silent way to travel and lets you slip into the most secret places.

Can you see the old railroad bridge up ahead ? I love the way reflections mirror the real world and take on a reality all their own.

Out on the bay we saw ospreys diving into the shallow water for fish, egrets sunning themselves on tree stumps sticking out of the water, eagles wheeling overhead and close up, dragonflies, fish and lots and lots of water birds . The banks were covered in blooming wildflowers , like this lipstick red cardinal flower.

There were huge patches of water lilies in bloom and I almost thought I spied M. Claude Monet, painting away at one of his water lily pictures ....

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Early morning walk

I've started walking again early every morning, almost before the sun is up and while the evening mists and fogs are quietly drifting up out of the valleys , making way for the new day.

Along the way, there are some strange landmarks, like this venerable old tree, and I become more attentive to my surroundings. I am aware of the rich chorus of insects which is now an ever present part of these late summer days, so constant,that we become used to it and don't hear it any more. Thousands ( millions ? ) of cicadas and other little critters are singing their last song before winter closes in ; it greets us as we wake and sings us to sleep at night.

As I travel between the walls of green that flank my little country road, I see the different plants and their distinctly shaped leaves - what a complex and amazing variety of shapes. There is not only a difference between a fern and an oak leaf, but each leaf on each plant is distinct and different, no two alike.

I think about a picture I've seen of people in New York, a huge wall of humanity, like the wall of green I'm walking beside. Yet in that mass of people, no two are alike and when you look attentively , you can distinguish white from black, like I recognize oak from fern. Looking closer, we can , of course, recognize our relatives, our mother, father, sister, the baby, the old person, just as I can distinguish how each leaf on a single plant is unique.
But when I have narrowed my focus to just one person, there is inside that woman, that old man, a whole world which blossoms out and expands without limit. A world made up of life experiences, imagination, creativity, subconscious urges, longings , and I wonder if within that individual leaf there isn't a corresponding reality, expanding ever outward and , in the end, back inward, toward the focus point.
But I see that the dog and cat are waiting for me at the top of the hill, my walk is over for today.

It's time to pick peaches for jam

and feed the ponies. The day has begun.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Bean Olympics

What ? You didn't know there was a Bean event in the Olympics ?

We've been training hard all spring and most of the summer and now we are ready.

I present to you The Yard Long Bean !!!!
I believe it will be a serious contender for Gold.Stay tuned to your local stations for the results of this exciting contest and remember, you saw it first here at Chez RFD.

P.S. The bean is really truly one yard long - I measured it.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Exactly one year ago we started this blog .
Happy Blogiversary to us !

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Could this be it ?

Our new summer place in Maine ? A small saltwater farm , with an old house , near, no almost in, a small fishing village at the end of a peninsula. The lobster boats go right past our very own cove which has a sandy beach - a rarity in Maine.

The house can just be glimpsed between the trees.

There's even a secret pond hidden away in the woods.

There's lots to discuss and ponder on our long drive home tomorrow !

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Dedicated to

all of you who had to stay home .
Having a wonderful time - wish you were here.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Maine is...

buoys for lobster pots on a pier in a fishing village,

walking in the deep woods ,

islands and coves and small beaches with big pink granite boulders ,

old farm houses

and new houses on a river , peeking through the trees.

And a surprise in a bathtub ! Thank goodness not real, but made of cast iron - Mainers can be very quirky and quite funny.

There's the ubiquitous moose - this one in a house made out of a barn,

and this one - what's left of it - in a laundry room in the attached barn of an elegant house from 1850.

Not all the critters are large, here's a pretty bug we saw on a walk by the sea.

And, last, one of the many coves, as evening is painting a dreamy scene .

We love Maine !

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Ovens, Baking and Bread

Here's the little house in which the blacksmith raised his 10 children. We met the lady who takes care of the flower gardens and she invited me to visit her so she could give me some seeds. Maine is such a friendly place and the people we meet are incredibly kind and generous.

Back at the bread conference, there were happy bakers ; this one made bread out of ancient varieties of wheat , which are being preserved and brought back into circulation by a group in the US and Israel.

We learned to build a clay oven and were able to fire it within 3 hours. Once the fire burned down, we were able to bake a pita bread ! We even mixed the clay for the ovens in that period of time. A great project to do with kids because of the instant gratification and success and the gooey, messy, fun factor.


Lots of baking demonstrations went on everywhere. Look at those yummy brioches filled with a mixture of ground hazelnuts, sugar, grated orange rind, a touch of cinnamon , topped with chocolate ! Of course we had to sample everything and all of us were laboring under serious carbohydrate overload for the three days of the conference.
We were fed 3 meals a day, most of them cooked in outdoor ovens with locally grown or produced food and all of them totally delicious !

On the left is my favorite bread of all made with - surprise - sprouted wheat and sourdough and on the right is a very fancy art bread with the kneading conference logo in the middle.
We attended lots of lectures and hands-on workshops and learned so many new things, but the very best thing we came away with was a wonderful sense of community and connection with people . There is a definite spiritual element to working with fire, cooking and eating together and working as a group towards a common end. One of the organizers summed it up well as we said good-bye, he said " Remember this feeling of community and being connected when you get back home. Let it cheer you when you're feeling low or discouraged and call us if you need a friend. Know that you are working for something which is taking us in the right direction and will help others by your example. "
We got so much more than knowledge about bread baking and ovens out of this wonderful conference - we made many new and interesting friends and feel satisfied and nourished in body as well as spirit.

Every day there were extraordinary flower arrangements everywhere !